Why Our Cities Are Failing
By Michael Shellenberger
In cities governed by progressives, extreme housing-first policies have actually exacerbated homelessness and crime. Underneath it all is an ideology that labels those affected as victims and absolves them of personal responsibility. Eye-opening and extensively researched.
Harper, 2021, 416 pages
Secrets From a Spymaster
By Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald J. Rychlak
Disinformation is so common these days that it’s easy to be deceived.
This book, written by one of the highest-ranking defectors from the former Eastern Bloc, explains how disinformation works, with examples from the Cold War era. It reads like a spy novel, detailing how the American public was manipulated and lied to through incidents manufactured by the Soviets. Once you understand how disinformation works, you’ll see it everywhere—and how it is pushed by media that denounce it. An extremely valuable book.
WND Books, 2013, 429 pages
Narrative History at Its Finest
‘The Civil War’
By Shelby Foote
Writer Walker Percy called this trilogy “an American Iliad.” This meticulously researched history—Foote spent nearly 20 years researching and writing it—has brought both praise and criticism from other historians, yet nearly all would agree the novelist-turned-historian tells the story of the Civil War like no other. Here is a narrative history nearly 3,000 pages long, and not a dull one among them. A stupendous achievement by a man whose publisher originally asked him to write a short volume.
Vintage, 1986 2,968 pages
King of the Bootleggers
‘The Ghosts of Eden Park’
By Karen Abbott
George Remus dreamed of making a name for himself. In 1921, he owned 35 percent of all liquor in the United States. Fresh out of law school, Mabel Walker Willebrandt is also on track to make a name for herself as a pioneering prosecutor. Franklin Dodge is the investigator but is it Remus or Remus’s wife that he is after? And then, there is a murder. Abbott combines meticulous historical research with superb storytelling.
Crown Publishing, 2019, 319 pages
A Compendium of Brews
‘World Atlas of Beer’
By Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont
Inside this third edition is a curated list of the essential beers and beer places throughout the planet, broken down by region, country, or even city, with fascinating elements scattered throughout—such as notes on Dutch beer bar etiquette or the state of hops. There’s also guidance for buying, pouring, pairing, and storing.
Mitchell Beazley, 2021, 272 pages
Poverty, Grit, and Aspiration
‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’
By Betty Smith
Set in Brooklyn in the early 20th century, this 1943 novel tells the story of the impoverished Nolan family and their struggle as they seek the American Dream. Francie is the center of the story, a girl who loves books and learning and who adores her father for his imagination and musical talent, despite his failure as a provider. From her mother, Francie learns grit and willpower. Like the tree growing in the courtyard of their apartment building, she refuses to be destroyed by her trials. A beloved American classic, and rightly so.
Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2018, 493 pages
A Great American Poem Is Given a Twist
‘Casey at the Bat’
By Ernest Lawrence Thayer and Patricia Polacco
Want to keep the baseball season going with the little ones? Read them this book. Thayer’s original poem is included, but Polacco’s additions and illustrations give us Casey as an arrogant boy who learns a lesson. Fun for everyone.
Putnam Publishing, 1997, 32 pages
In an Old House in Paris
By Ludwig Bemelmans
This 1939 classic introduces us to the high-spirited and precocious young girl, one of 12 little girls who live in a “vine-covered house in Paris.” Young girls, especially, will enjoy traveling the globe with the irrepressible Madeline.
Viking, 2012, 36 pages